Getting Derby ready
Jockeys and trainers gearing up for event
With two days to go before the 2015 Massy United Insurance Barbados Derby on Saturday, jockeys and trainers are mapping out their strategies and seeking to grab the big Silver Cup and the big purse that goes with it.
Organisers reported that $64,000 will go to the champion horse, from a total purse of just over $130,000, and a highly competitive race is anticipated at the Garrison Savannah as contenders jostle for one of the biggest pay-outs in local horse-racing.
The Derby is the island’s biggest annual event for three-year-old creoles and Barbadian contenders will also be seeking to keep the money at home, while staving off Trinidadian entrant Bulletproof and experienced rider Nobel Abrego.
Defending champion jockey Rickey Walcott, who rode Voldemort to an upset victory last year while coming from the back of the field, is fancying his chances again this year while partnering Poetic Licence, one of two hot favourites in the major event.
“I like my chances. Poetic Licence is a good horse that likes to run and we are looking to win again. I ride to win,” said the 33 year-old Walcott.
With that amazing ride on 10 to 1 long-shot Voldemort still fresh in his mind following the 2014 Derby, Walcott further said he was not overly worried by other top favourite Donicodidit, nor Bulletproof, and he was focused on repeating as champion jockey of the Barbados Derby.
“The Derby is a major event in racing and I am looking to defend my title as Derby champion,” he added.
Walcott has so far posted 12 wins for the season and one of his big victories was on Poetic Licence back in April when they slammed the field to capture the Barbados Guineas, the first event in the Barbados Turf Club’s annual Triple Crown of racing.
Donicodidit, with Antonio Perch in the saddle, ensured that there will be no Triple Crown champion this year by winning the recent Mid-Summer Classic and in so doing also set the stage for an intriguing Derby contest. Saturday’s Derby Day 2015 offers a variety of entertainment for the whole family and Michael Armstrong, the director of business development, strategy and marketing for sponsors Massy United Insurance, said the day will feature top-class racing, a colourful parade around the Garrison and a range of Crop Over entertainment with leading soca artistes Mikey, Biggie Irie, Nikita and Mistah Dale booked to perform.
Armstrong also disclosed that efforts have been made to involve all attending Derby Day and in addition to a Massy product fair, drivers from the Suzuki Challenge Series will be on hand with their vehicles and a Free Kids Zone will feature a 21-seater gaming bus with hundreds of the latest games. Free WiFi will also be available to patrons at the Garrison Savannah and the feature race will be streamed live on www.massyunitedinsurance.com.